Michigan may have suffered particularly grievous economic blows with the recent recession, but it appears that the state's community college system is not only recovering but flourishing, thanks in large part to the successful implementation of online learning curricula.
In an opinion piece appearing in the February 27, 2011 edition of Port Huron, Michigan's , Linda Davis, dean of instructional support services at St. Clair County Community College (SC4), praises online learning's many virtues. Among these are:
- Flexibility - "If you get off from work at 8 a.m. or 8 p.m., your classroom is waiting for you," Davis writes. "If you can't finish an assignment because you have to pick up your kids from school, your work will be there when you return."
- Quality instruction - "SC4's online classes are taught by the same faculty who teach in classrooms on campus," writes Davis. "They are experienced and know the needs of a community college student. Faculty members are easily reachable for any questions or extra help with an assignment."
- Learning community - The online environment offers discussion boards, faculty notes and presentations, and links to other places online to help you learn," Davis continues. "Through the discussion boards and e-mail, students can share ideas, offer encouragement and make friendships."
- Practical experience - "Taking an online class can help prepare you for the job market," Davis writes. "Employers expect their workers to be able to perform tasks on the computer and online. Becoming fluent in an online class boosts your computer skills."
Though Dean Davis writes specifically of her institution, SC4, no doubt other institutions boast similar successes. Online learning bundles so many practical solutions -- in terms of time, cost, access, and more -- that postsecondary institutions across the nation and around the globe will no doubt integrate it into their curricula with increasing regularity.